Religion: Ecumenical Chill

Tough words from the Vatican

John Paul II was the first Pope to worship at Anglicanism's Canterbury Cathedral, the first to preach in a Lutheran church, and the first in a millennium to attend the Eucharist in Istanbul alongside Orthodoxy's Ecumenical Patriarch. But despite these gestures of friendship, substantive progress toward Christian unity has nearly come to a halt during John Paul II's reign. Last week a front-page editorial in the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, seemed to signal that there is no prospect of structural reunion of the churches so long as this Pope's views prevail.

The editorial vigorously rejected a 1984 German book, Unity of...

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